Prisoners in Karnataka have been on a hunger strike since Independence Day after Governor H R Bhardwaj turned down a proposal by the government for the customary release of a number of prisoners on the grounds of good behaviour on the occasion. The proposal for the release of 519 prisoners was turned down by the Governor on the grounds that the government had failed to provide sufficient details of the crimes,sentences and reasons for remission of sentences. The Governor has now asked the government to get the prior consent of the state police chief before proposing the remission in the life terms of these prisoners. Many of these prisoners have reportedly not served the minimum 14 years mandated under law for remission of sentences,says the Governors office.
The VIP roadrage
Karnatakas Labour Minister B N Bacche Gowda recently came face to face with a youth who refused to buy his VIP status argument. After one Bharath Gowda overtook the Ministers car on the national highway,his driver forced the young man to pull over. It was Gowda who confronted him with the inevitable do you know who I am? question. However,he met with a firm response from the young man. The unfazed youth reportedly shot back that there was no law against overtaking a Ministers car. He paid for his response as the Ministers gunmen then proceeded to rough him up. Both parties have now filed a case in the matter.
Without a helping hand
The BJP government in Karnataka recently fulfilled the state Lok Ayukta Justice Santosh Hegdes demand for appointment of a Upa Lok Ayukta to handle the burden of mounting complaints against maladministration in the state by appointing former judge of the Karnataka High Court S B Majage to the position. Justice Majage however suffered a massive heart attack on his first day in office forcing hospitalisation and leaving the Karnataka Lok Ayukta again without an active deputy. Hegde had earlier designed as the Lokayukta in protest against the non-cooperation by the state government in his crusade against corruption.
Miles to go
Karnatakas Chief Secretary S V Ranganath presented an ambiguous riddle at a recent conference on public private participation in infrastructure in an attempt to highlight Indias economic status. If a pond fills up at the rate of 2,4,8,16 litres a day and is full on day 30,on what day is it half full? he asked. On day 29, he said before pointing out that India is now on day 29 in terms of infrastructure development. He was alluding to the locked-up potential inherent in Indias growth story. Money is not the problem in scaling up private public partnership in infrastructure,but a change of the us versus them mindset is crucial,he emphasised. JOHNSON T A